Holiday Lightings in New York City

The best free entertainment during the holidays are the numerous tree lightings all over the city. Enjoy.

Rockefeller Center Tree
50th Street and Fifth Ave, (212) 332-7654
The Rockefeller Center Tree is a spectacular mountain of branches covered with around 5 miles of lights. The lighting ceremony takes place every year on the first Wednesday after Thanksgiving and features an evening of celebrity guests and performers. On view daily through January 3rd from 5:30am to 11:30pm, all day on Christmas, and from 5:30am to 9pm on New Year's Eve.

    American Museum of Natural History Origami Tree
    80th St and Central Park West, (212) 769-5100
    For nearly 30 years, the lighting of the American Museum of Natural History's Origami Holiday Tree has marked the start of the holiday season for Museum staff and visitors. The striking 14-foot-high tree is decorated with more than 1,000 brightly colored, intricately folded paper decorations representing objects and specimens in the Museum's collection.

    Chorus Tree at South Street Seaport
    At South Street Seaport, (212)SEA-PORT
    The beautifully decorated Chorus Tree with thousands of white lights stands over 50 feet tall and will feature the St. Cecilia Chorus. This annual tradition has drawn millions of visitors worldwide to the historic financial district over the past 15 years. There will be six performances per weekend from November 23rd to January 1st. Performance times are Fridays at 6:00pm & 7:00pm and Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm & 4pm. Performances last approximately 45 minutes each.

    Metropolitan Museum Annual Christmas Tree
    84th and Central Park West, (212) 535-7710
    Tree and Neopolitan Baroque creche go on view around Thanksgiving. Tree lighting ceremony takes place every Friday and Saturday evening at 7pm.

    New York Botanical Gardens Tree
    New York Botanical Gardens, (718) 817-8700
    Two of the most magnificent holiday events at The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx-the annual Holiday Train Show and Holiday Reflections festival of lights, both at the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory-raise the curtain November 23rd on six weeks of activities for children and adults.

    Park Avenue Trees
    Park Avenue from 97th Street to 48th Street
    The cherry and hawthorn trees growing on the avenue were strung with lights beginning in 1982 as a celebration of Hanukkah. In more recent years, the memorial has expanded to involve and celebrate all faiths, while furthering the cause of peace and invoking reverence for those who have sacrificed their lives for the country. On the first Sunday in December, many New Yorkers of all ages come to Park Avenue and 91st Street to see performances give silent thanks in the very still night before the dedication and the lighting of two and a half miles of Memorial Trees.

    Lincoln Center Tree
    Broadway and 63rd Street, (212) 875-5108
    Lincoln Center's annual tree lighting, a multi-cultural celebration of light, will take place in early December on Lincoln Center's Josie Robertson Plaza. Admission is free and refreshments will be served after the event.

    Central Park Holiday Lights
    Charles a Dana Discovery Center, 110th Street near 5th Ave, (212) 860-1370
    December in the Park wouldn't be complete without the Winter Wonderland Holiday Celebration and Kwanzaa festivities.

    Cathedral of St. John the Divine Peace Tree
    (110th St. and Amsterdam), (212) 316-7540
    Commemorate the season of light with a stroll through the Cathedral to see Keith Haring's silver-toned triptych, and the giant Peace Tree, covered with 1,000 paper cranes.

    See information on other holiday lightings in NYC.